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The Reception

This is where the fun really starts. This is not to say that the ceremony should not be fun. Oh yes it should be, by far it should. In fact if the ceremony is fun, then it generally carries on into the rest of the day or night.

Do we have to have a reception at all?
Do we have the reception at home?
Do we have it at a friends place?
Do we hire a hall?
Do we cater ourselves?
Do we arrange for a catering company?
Do we go to a Reception Center, if so which one?
Do we really need to have a reception?

Let�s start with the first one. No, you don�t need to have a reception. An alternative, if you only have a small guest list, is to go to your friendly restaurant, or nothing at all. Perhaps a stroll along the beach or walk in the woods.

The main question that controls all or most of these decisions is MONEY. What is it going to cost. Can we afford it?

Only you can answer most of these questions. The Reception Center is by far the easiest, the simplest, the most exciting and need not be the most expensive. An alternative to an evening weekend wedding is to be married on a week day, say a Friday or a Monday. This may not be as silly as you first thought.

Approach a Reception Center and get a quote for a mid-week Reception. Comparing with a weekend, you will usually be very surprised as to how much you will save and a great deal of companies now allow workers to have days off during the week, for various reasons.

Also why not have a Brunch, say a wedding at 11 am and a reception at 12 noon to finish at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.? That allows the Reception Center to have the more traditional reception at 6 pm, after you and you guests have departed for the hotel. An advantage, is that you both manage to get to bed sober and not tired out, so that you are able to spend precious moments of tenderness and love with and for each other. With this kind of Reception comes also added advantages that Photographers, Videographers, and Wedding Cars are easier to obtain and will sometimes come down in price. Not that I am suggesting that price should dominate everything. One does have to balance Quality, Price, and Value for money against each other.
Should you use a catering company or do it yourself? A caterer is an option whether you have the reception at your place, or at a friend�s place or in a hall. Unless you have an army of great friends who you would like not to be friends with ever again, then do it yourself. Even if your family says, �We will do it,� DON�T and I repeat, DO NOT THINK ABOUT DOING THE CATERING AND THE RECEPTION YOURSELVES.

Is that clear? All right I�ll explain. I�ve seen many, many, couples who have done this and the response at the end of the day has always been, �Not again, it�s too much hard work�.

I�ve seen the calmest of people, the most organized of people, the best cooks in the world, the best in the world of everything, just unable to cope with it all and I�ll make another bold statement YOU WILL HAVE YOUR WORK CUT OUT JUST GETTING YOURSELVES READY. NEVER MIND YOUR GUESTS, THINK ABOUT YOURSELVES.

It is your day, remember. Do you want to be absolutely drained, exhausted and in a high state of stress simply due to you saving a few dollars on doing the reception yourselves? Well do you? The answer should be, �NO�. If the answer is, �YES� all I can say is �I TOLD YOU,� before the event!

OK, I�ve labored that I know, although I really think that it is needed it and I make no apology for it.

A good Catering firm is worth their weight in gold. Yes, I said A GOOD CATERING FIRM. How do you find a good one among all of the ones that are listed in the varying publications out there? With great difficulty! If you stick to the following steps, the journey will be made less of a nightmare.

Ask your friends who have similar standards to yourselves. If your friends don�t know, then ask your friends to ask their friends until you find someone who has been to an outside function where there was an outside catering company. The next move is to find out who paid the bill or check. It�s no use asking the people whom the event was for. It�s more important to ask the people who actually paid the bill.

They will tell you the truth for sure, absolutely. They�ve paid for the reception so they will tell you if they were satisfied, or unsatisfied, as the case may be.

Look in the local papers. Look in the Telephone Directories, but the key is, ask the people who not only went to the event but those who paid for it.
When you do contact a possible caterer, ASK, ASK, ASK.

Ask if they do the cooking themselves?
Do they supply all utensils?
Do they supply all staff?
Will they supply staff for serving drinks?
Is the food all prepared and cooked prior on their premises?
Are the eating utensils of high quality
(i.e. china, crystal, silver etc.)?
How soon do they arrive prior to the reception?
Do they require electricity? If so how many points?
Can they supply references from previous clients?
Please send samples of suggested menus.

Then when you have all this information you will be in a position to make a calculated decision. If after all this you are unable to make a decision, revert to a large piece of paper and divide it into two with the pros and the cons. That way it is often easier to see which one comes out on top. Always remember, Ask, Ask and Ask again. I guess it�s similar to the Real Estate Motto, Position, Position, Position.

Well I do hope that that this has assisted you with Reception Centers. Go and visit them, I have not found a poor one. They will, I�m sure, do all to assist you and most have been in business for a long, long time. By visiting them you will be able to see what the standard of the premises is. The next to be discussed is the Photographer and or Videographers. Do you need both? Is one better than the other, or do they complement one another?